Friday arvo I left work early so I could get a head start on the traffic heading out for the long weekend. In the end however, the supermarket was packed full, and things took a while and didn’t head out till about 5.30. But I managed to scoot around the traffic most of the way, only having to be on the SH 1 for 20min. Then taking the back roads to Geraldine and got to Tekapo in almost record time (excluding the stop for dinner at subway in Geraldine).
Oh what an exciting start to the blog! what everyone wants to hear… about a boring trip to Tekapo, sorry, please stay with me, I’ll get to the interesting bit I am sure…
So stayed the night in Tekapo at my parents, then Saturday morining I was up early to prepare my experimental prerace breakfast. A toasted bagel and banana. So I toasted the bagel, and wasn’t sure what to put on it, was going to go with honey but after rifling through the parents cupboard discovered they didn’t have any, stettled on Jam, which I don’t normally like, but toasted bagel and Jam is scrummy. Well that was my new experince for the day. Thje choked my way through the banana, I honestly don’t like Banana’s, something to do with the squishy texture in my mouth, I normally OK , as long as I don’t think about what am eating.
Oh jeez now I have bored you with my exciting breakfast… Now’s the good bit honest
Put my stuff together and headed off to Twizel, its about a 30 min drive, and I wasn’t quite sure where the start was, my Dad had explained the night before, but somethimes the more obvious a direction, I make more complicated and get myself lost. So I had given myself heaps of time to get there. Mt Cook was looking awesome on the way over. I had to stop and take the tradtional tourist shot (Well phone camera doesn’t show it off to its best).
I still arrived pretty early at the start, no problems finding the place. Registered, then used the toilet about 4 times. Ok I am not normally that bad, but I was concerned about getting stamach cramps again…
Eventually breifing started, and then we lined up at the start. I was surprised at the number of people there was, I pick a spot near the back of the crowd, didn’t want to get caught up in a fast pace start. And then we were off. The first K or so was on tarmac, which is slightly odd running with the trail shoes on, then we crossed over a bridge on the canal (Oh dear we didn’t have to swim it, was so looking forward to that), and were on to a gravel road for the next 2k. At the 3.4K point there was a drink station, I was wearing my hydration pack, so didn’t need it, but did remind me to start drinking. Most of this bit had been on a slightly uphill kind of slope, but after this we truly started to climb. I set my self a comforatble pace, walking the stepper bits. The final 1 or 2 K’s up to the saddle was fairly steep so I made sure I power walked this (used those glut muscles), and got to the top feeling pretty comfortable. The day had started out fair;y chilly, but by this point it was getting warm. I was thinking I should have put sun block on, but was really enjoying the heat.
The saddle was the 7K mark, most of the rest of the course was down hill from there. There was a short sharp decent, where I managed to overtake a few people, thanks to my new downhilling technique. Then we followed a track behind the pyramid.
Have I explained the course… heres a photo (Its taken just after the bridge over the canal). Sorry not great picture but the hill on the right is the pyramid (not sure why its called a pyramid, doesn’t look very pryamiddy). You can kinda see the track that took us up to the saddle, between the two hills, then we circum naviagate the entire hill before coming back the way we came.
Where was I? Oh yeh so we followed a single track around the back of the pryamid. This was the best bit and then we turned around on to the front and it was just this long big expanse that just kept on going. I mucch prefer a twisty windy track, that I can’t see how far I have been or how far I have to go, just work through what I have in the here and now. So this bit did my head in, but eventually made it back to that first drinks station and headed back for home.
Finished in about 1.57, which I was quite happy with. I made sure that I kept a even steady pace the entire way. I wanted to finish the race feeling comfortable. I was feeling a little more tired than I orginally wanted to, but think I could have gone around again… not so sure about a third time though… gulp. I din’t employ the run / walk technique, only walking the hills and the final drink station where I grab a sponge of water. Overall I fairly happy with eerything, especially my non stamach cramps, so what ever I did this week seems to havve helped, I didn’t get any neusea at the start, I did feel my stomach feeling a bit tight around the back of the pyramid, but made sure I drank more water and it came right.
Afterwards I realised i forgot my skins, so lay down with my legs up the car for 15 min. Then headed back to Tekapo. Decided to forgo pricegiving, as it wasn’t till 2, and it was 11.30 by this time, and didn’t know what I could do in Twizel to keep me preoccupied for 2.5hr. On the way back, as I was driving past Pukaki, I thought that would be the best ice bath. For those of you who know the 3 hydro lakes in this part of the world will know they are cold, icy cold. Plus I couldn’t remember when I last put my feet in the lake (Its a thing I have to do, it I can I like to go paddling in every river, lake I pass). So I stop off, I had taken my shoes of at this stage, and too lazy to put them back on, and clambered over come very sharp rocks down to the lake edge and proceeded to stand in it for about 2 min, that is all I could handle, my feet were aching something terrible… once I got out and feeling returned to my legs, they felt so much better… was worth it aye.
A couple of hours after I got back to Tekapo the Sotherly arrived, was rather glad that it hadn’t arrived early for the racce, it would have been cold out there. Then it started to snow.. snow in October! on Labour weekend! I know it isn’t unheard of but still… I was really glad I wasn’t out there racing.
The touristy shot
Oh well by lunch time it was mostly all gone. But tradionally on this weekend, their is normally have been the Kayak marthon on the canals, but it wasn’t held this year. I really wanted to do it this year, but it din’t happen… but my point… imagine if it had been on, then we would have been doing it with snow lining the canals sides, portaging though the snow… that would have been awesome. And not a breath of wind anywhere to make your day unhappy.
Well instead I went for a “recovery” run this morning, but the snow looked like fun and decided to go off road and followed a track behind the township, breaking through soft powdery virgin snow. That was fun, tried to justify my actions, that I was training for a situation where it snows on the Kepler… I really hope it doesn’t because no matter how much run, it is hard work running through ankle deep snow.